Blazing a new trail
a public-private partnership delivered hundreds of new and improved bridges -- and a blueprint of managing infrastructure projects
The state of Oregon ranks as one of the top vegetable producers in the U.S. And to move all those tons of carrots, sweet corn, green peas and other produce, truckers rely on a complex network of bridges and roads that wind through forests, over mountains and across rivers. The state's 6,700 bridges keep traffic moving -- connecting millions of residents and powering an economy. But nearly half of the state's bridges were built before 1960. And in 2001, inspectors found cracks in some bridges that if left to deteriorate would soon limit weight loads and vehicle speeds. A 2003 Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) study estimated structurally deficient bridges would end up costing the state US$123 billion in lost productivity and 88,000 jobs over the following 25 years.